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Ecoparque Bacalar

Colectivo C733

Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Mexico

January 2023


Gabriela Carrillo (Partner), Israel Espín (Partner)


Fernando Rodríguez (Design Team), Oscar Trejo (Structural Design), Taller Nuevos Territorios (Bioremediation Strategies), Claudia Teutli and Jorge Herrera (Mangrove Restoration Strategies), Luisa Falcón (Museology


Sedatu, Secretaría de Desarrollo Agrario, Territorial y Urbano. Gobierno de México.


Rafael Gamo


The project's main strategy is to reduce the requested program and minimize the impact of human activity on the site's rich flora and fauna. To achieve this, the design is based on precision and lightness, with a focus on maintaining the integrity of the surrounding ecosystem. The centerpiece of the project, an squared 800-meter long pier, was designed with varying heights to avoid disturbing the mangroves while still providing visitors with an elevated view of the lagoon. The solid parts of the pier house facilities such as a research laboratory and services area, while the shade of tall trees covers an open plain. One of the project's innovative aspects is the use of certified local wood for the structural system. This approach not only supports the local economy but also reduces the carbon footprint of the project. The efficient structural system was carefully designed to act as a column, beam, and foundation at the same time. In addition to the careful design of the pier, the landscape strategy is designed to mitigate water pollution through natural filters, depressions, rain gardens, and the rehabilitation of degraded mangroves. Additionally, the project features a museum exhibit in the form of a timeline of the unique biodiversity of the area, recorded on the wood, inviting visitors to become more aware of their environment and to conserve the site.


The Bacalar Lagoon is not only the largest freshwater bacterial reef globally but also home to rare living stromatolites, representing an invaluable evolutionary treasure. Moreover, it stands as the last remaining mangrove remnant along the shores of Bacalar town, symbolizing a critical ecological asset amidst urban sprawl. The delicate balance of this ecosystem faces significant threats from urban expansion, underscoring the urgent need for conservation efforts. The preservation of the Bacalar Lagoon and its surrounding mangroves is essential not only for its ecological significance but also for its cultural and recreational value to the local community and visitors alike.


The Ecoparque Bacalar has become a vital community hub, facilitating connections between residents and visitors while fostering a deeper appreciation for nature. Its social management approach has ensured that the space remains accessible to all, promoting inclusivity and a sense of ownership among the local population. Beyond providing a tranquil retreat in the midst of urban expansion, the park has sparked interest in environmental conservation and stewardship among visitors. The museological project has proven to be particularly interesting for visitors about the importance of preserving the local ecosystem, leading to increased awareness and engagement with conservation efforts. By prioritizing an open and public design, the park has seamlessly blended into its natural surroundings, enhancing the quality of life for nearby residents while adding value to the community as a whole. Through its design and conservation-focused approach, the Ecoparque Bacalar has explored standards for sustainable development, ensuring the protection of ecosystems for future generations. There, an opportunity arises to heal past actions and present afflictions with minimal yet spatially impactful actions, settling lightly and logically in a territory deemed crucial for preservation.

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